Hávamál – The Words of Odin the High One – from the Elder Edda

68

22.

The miserable man and evil minded

makes of all things mockery,

and knows not that which he best should know,

that he is not free from faults.

23.

The unwise man is awake all night,

and ponders everything over;

when morning comes he is weary in mind,

and all is a burden as ever.

24.

The unwise man weens all who smile

and flatter him are his friends,

nor notes how oft they speak him ill

when he sits in the circle of the wise.

25.

The unwise man weens all who smile

and flatter him are his friends;

but when he shall come into court he shall find

there are few to defend his cause.

26.

The unwise man thinks all to know,

while he sits in a sheltered nook;

but he knows not one thing, what he shall answer,

if men shall put him to proof.

(translated by Olive Bray)

Or, in other words …

22.    He is a wretched man and evil of disposition who scoffs at everything.  He does not know what he ought to know-that he himself is not irreproachable.

23.    He is a foolish man who lies awake all night and broods over everything.  When morning breaks he is weary and all his trouble is the same as it was.

 24.   He is a foolish man who thinks all who smile at him are his friends.  If sensible people show their dislike for him when he is in their company, he will not realise it.

 25.   He is a foolish man who thinks all who smile at him are his friends.  He will discover when he comes into court that he has but few supporters.

 26.   He is a foolish man who thinks he knows everything if he secures safety in danger.  He will not know how to answer if men test him with questions.

(translated by D. E. Martin Clarke)

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